How are you going?

Here we go again. How are you going in Lockdown 2.0?

I hope you’ve been finding time to rest and recharge. I know I’ve been finding it more difficult to keep going with my creative practice. It’s so, so tempting to turn into a hermit and ignore the world. And planning? Forget it! So yes, I’ve been quieter/more sporadic than usual on social media and these updates from the studio. I am still painting but when it comes to sharing what I’m up to, I must admit, I’ve kinda hit a wall.

In amongst all this uncertainty, there is one thing I know for sure. (And it’s science-based – have I mentioned I’m a nerd?)

Nature = the perfect retreat

I’m working from home at the moment. Which means that when I need a break to clear my brain, I can grab my gumboots and get outside for a stomp. There’s something about having grass underfoot and the breeze on my face. It always makes me feel better.

Kepler the goat taking me for a walk through the paddock.
Kepler the goat taking me for a walk through the paddock.

Turns out, there’s a bunch of research that shows that yes, time in nature is good for us emotionally and physically.

Being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, improves our mood, energy, and general wellbeing. It reduces stress, anxiety, anger, and fear. It helps us to focus and gives our overactive minds a rest. And it actually activates the parts of our brain associated with empathy and love – the feelings that give us a sense of belonging, and connect us to each other and our environment.

So there IS something to the advice, “get out and go for a walk” because getting outside and into nature is so good for us! And if you can’t get outside, studies show that looking at images of nature actually has the same benefits.

So I’ve made you a short video and it’s full of nature

Here’s some more visual poetry for you – the highlights of winter. Okay, I confess. There’s also an awful lot of Kepler the goat being cute. And the sheep because the lambs are adorable! But I left out the thunderstorms, hail, gale-force winds, and months of trudging through the mud… You’re welcome.

Hit play and enjoy crunchy frost, glowing fog, trees laden with blossom and tuis, and plenty of noses.

Watch time: 1 ½ minutes. If you enjoyed this video, please help me out and like + comment on YouTube!

I had a lot of fun creating this one. I hope you enjoyed!

For more restful ideas, my artist friend Flavia Bennard shares some habits on her blog to help navigate times of uncertainty. Be sure to watch her video as well – it’s so calming and peaceful and beautiful.

As she so eloquently says, “And there is always a better tomorrow. Even if you can’t believe in one now, even if you can’t envision it, trust that there’s a better tomorrow.”

Take care.

PS A huge thank you to everyone who helped with my request for feedback and words for my new collection. Your responses were truly beautiful and made my day. Thank you so much for your support!

xo

Ailene